Today we delve into the deliciousness of Portuguese pastry with this simple but delightful Jésuita pastry. The triangular shaped puff pastry is filled with an almond egg cream and topped with either a meringue icing or a sprinkling of flaked almonds. These are also ridiculously easy to make!
The Jésuita is a "Doces Conventuais" or a convent sweet. In Portuguese cuisine these convent sweets play a large part of in the desserts and were often made of a combination of egg yolks and sugar and or pastry or cake. History goes that the nuns and monks used to use the egg whites to starch their clothing so they would have a surplus of egg yolks (tip: save this recipe for when you have a surplus of egg yolks eg. when you make a pavlova). When you eat Portuguese sweets you'll be amazed by how many ways they use egg yolks (and perhaps wonder at how many egg whites they must have needed to starch their clothes!).
Jésuitas originate from the North of Portugal and we ate some of the pastries in Porto which is the largest northern Portuguese city where you can sample some of Northern Portugal's delights. They're said to be shaped like the frocks of Jesuit priests hence the name and truth be told, I didn't love the one I tried as the pastry was quite dry and I couldn't even detect any almond cream filling.
However I've had others since made with butter puff pastry and with more filling and they were wonderful. Like a simpler version of an almond croissant really. I've even seen these made with chocolate (for a version of a pain au chocolat) or chocolate custard. I'd even say Nutella would be gorgeous but don't tell anyone I suggested that ;)
Biting into these reminds me of our holiday in Portugal and the fun that we had travelling across the country eating pastries and sweets. But although I love travelling, at the end I'm always glad to be home, especially when I'm travelling in a cooler climate and home is warmer. When we got back to Sydney I opened the balcony door and I swear the words of The Castle's Daryl Kerrigan came out of my mouth. "I love Australia, why would you live anywhere else?" I said about the sunny 24°C/75.2°F weather outside.
Later in bed that night, slightly jetlagged I had no idea where I was. I had fallen asleep pretty much straight away. Mr NQN was reading on his phone when I suddenly woke up.
"Where are we?" I said startled awake.
"We're home," he answered.
"No we're not," I said to him.
He turned on his phone light, "Look. See we're home," he said.
The worst part is that I looked around confused and even with everything illuminated I didn't recognise our own bedroom. I think my mind was still in Portugal and perhaps on these jésuitas!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried a Jésuita? Do you suffer badly from jetlag when you travel?